There was much to like about Matthew Stafford's work in Detroit this season, unless your name is Marshall Faulk.
Stafford bounced back from offseason shoulder surgery to guide the Lions to their first playoff appearance since 1999. Along the way, he threw for 41 touchdowns and 5,038 yards, just the fourth player in league history to cross the 5,000-yard barrier (along with Drew Brees -- twice -- Tom Brady and Dan Marino).
According to Faulk, the Hall of Fame running back and NFL Network analyst, this isn't a big deal.
"Throwing for 5,000 yards in the NFL right now is nothing," Faulk said, per MLive.com. "I don't want to take anything away from it. As much as people throw the football now, you better have 5,000 if you have Calvin Johnson."
Faulk was criticized for his comments, but to categorize this as a trashing of Stafford is unfair. NFL offenses are transforming before our eyes, and it appears the high-octane passing game is here to stay.
Just outside of the conversation, Tony Romo, Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton each threw for more than 4,000 yards this season. Tyler Palko did not, so, yes, we need to pause before we shrug off the staggering numbers.
In the context of history, Stafford's achievements stand out. Faulk, if anything, points to a turning point -- perhaps a tipping point -- in which the 5,000-yard season no longer looms as that near-impossible milestone, but a typical destination for top-tier passers.